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Nike Legend Essential 2 Review | Good Budget-Friendly Trainer?

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When in the market for new cross-training shoes, it can be difficult at times to find super cost-efficient models — I feel your pain. The Nike Legend Essential 2 is designed to be a versatile training shoe at a fair price.

As someone who’s fairly frugal with their gear, I was super excited to test and try out the Nike Legend Essential 2 which has a price of $60 USD. Across the board, I’ve enjoyed tackling casual training sessions in the Nike Legend Essential 2. 

This model works well for lighter lifting and more casual HIIT workouts. Plus, you can beat them up with daily wear and not feel like you’ve wasted a ton of money doing so. There are a few cons that come along with this shoe which I’ll discuss below.

Who Should Invest In the Nike Legend Essential 2?

The Nike Legend Essential 2 is an okay training shoe for very casual lifting, HIIT workouts, and short runs. At a price of $60 USD, this Nike Legend Essential 2’s price point is definitely its best feature.

I think if you’re trying to save the most money possible and you’re looking for a trainer for daily wear that you can beat while also holding its own in the gym for casual training sessions, then the Nike Legend Essential 2 can be a good option to explore.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Review

The honeycomb mesh upper is pretty durable and you can get an okay level of stability in this model for lifting and training. For lifting, this shoe will definitely be best for beginners, and for HIIT workouts and classes, this model will work best for more casual sessions.

Note, for serious lifting and training, this model’s performance will fall a bit short and I’ll discuss the why for this below.

Nike Legend Essential 2


Nike Legend Essential 2

Best For

  • Casual HIIT Sessions
  • Light Lifting
  • Daily Wear and Walking
  • Short and Casual Runs

Falls Short

  • For Serious Training
  • For Long-Term Durability

Nike Legend Essential 2 Pros

Over the course of my testing and reviewing process, I found multiple things to like about the Nike Legend Essential 2.

  1. Price Point Is Great
  2. Good for Casual Lifting and HIIT Workouts
  3. Lightweight and Fairly Breathable

The first aspect to like about the Nike Legend Essential 2 is its price point. For most colorways in this model, you can expect to pay around $60 USD and this shoe is regularly on sale through different retail outlets so you can typically find them for less with some searching.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Hands On Review

I think if you’re trying to save money and you’re not super niche with your training, then this price point is really solid. This shoe will work well for daily wear, casual lifting, HIIT workouts, classes, and short runs.

Another thing to like about the Nike Legend Essential 2 is that it can hold its own for more casual training sessions. When lifting, this model supported my deadlifts up to 315 lbs and it was pretty stable when tackling lower body accessory exercises.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 2 for Lifting

For HIIT workouts and more athletic-focused sessions, this shoe also did pretty well. The foam midsole provides a good amount of responsiveness and this shoe doesn’t beat up the feet too much if you’re training is more recreational in nature.

I also like the lightweight nature of this model and can see it being a good budget-friendly training shoe for anyone that also wants this shoe for daily wear, short runs, and walks. This is a good model to beat up with no guilt due to its lower price point.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 2 for Daily Wear

The last aspect to like is that this shoe breathes pretty well and they’re super lightweight. This shoe has a weight of 9.30 ounces for my size 10 model which is pretty light compared to other training shoes on the market.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Cons

When investing in the Nike Legend Essential 2, I think it’s important to remember that it is a budget-friendly option and it will fall short for certain training contexts. Below are a few cons that I have with this shoe.

  1. Not the Best for Serious Training
  2. Fits Fairly Narrow In the Toe Box
  3. Long-Term Durability Could Be an Issue

The first drawback to the Nike Legend Essential 2 is that its performance will be capped in regard to its stability, versatility, and durability. For lifting, this shoe loses its stability above 315 lbs so it’s not a great model for heavier training.

Nike Legend Essential 2 for Lifting

In addition, the midfoot lacks adequate support and I noticed my foot collapsing a little bit as I fatigued more in this model. If you like midfoot support or arch support in your training shoes, then this would definitely be something to consider before investing.

The second drawback is the toe box in this model runs fairly narrow and can feel a little limiting at times. If you have neutral width or wide feet, then you’ll want to size up a half size in this shoe or look into other training shoes that will match your foot’s anatomy best.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Durability

The final drawback to the Nike Legend Essential 2 is that the long-term durability of this model can be an issue due to the exposed foam on this shoe’s outsole and the material that surrounds and secures this shoe’s eyelets. 

There’s no rubber outsole tread covering the midfoot of this shoe so you’ll have a lot of exposed foam hitting the ground, which can lead to durability issues if you’re wearing this model a lot on concrete or pavement.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Long Term Durability

The midsole material also isn’t super covered around the forefoot, so if you’re doing lateral work, then you may also experience some midsole scuffing and breakdown.


To break down the performance of the Nike Legend Essential 2, I’m going to discuss how this shoe performs in a variety of training contexts. This way you can assess if this model is a good fit for your training needs and wants.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Performance Overview

Nike Legend Essential 2 for Lifting

For lifting and weight training, the Nike Legend Essential 2 works for lighter training days. In the context of stability, I started to notice compression when getting heavier than 315 lbs in deadlifts.

I would say this is a pretty good running threshold for this shoe and would suggest using that as a gauge to see if this model would fit your needs well. If you’re training heavier than 315 lbs, then I could see stability being an issue in this model.

Nike Legend Essential 2 review for lifting

Something else to consider with this shoe when lifting is that it lacks adequate midfoot and arch support. If you need midfoot support when lifting for stability and balance, then this may not be the best shoe for you.

That being said, I could see this model being a good option for beginners who want a training shoe for lighter sessions or for lifters that want a shoe to beat up and to wear for casual training days.

Is the Nike Legend Essential 2 good for weight training

Nike Legend Essential 2 for Versatile Training

For versatile training, I like the Nike Legend Essential 2 for the most part. The midsole in this model is fairly responsive and the lightweight nature of this shoe gives it an athletic fit and feel.

Reviewing the Nike Legend Essential 2 for HIIT Workouts

I think for shorter HIIT sessions, classes, and athletic-focused days, this model will work pretty well. The grip is also pretty good for rubber gym mats, wooden gym floors, and turf so you get a nice grip on a variety of surfaces with this shoe.

The one area where this shoe falls short for versatile training is with single-leg work and this circles back to the lacking midfoot support. I ran into issues with my foot collapsing in this model as I started to get a bit more fatigued in longer sessions.

Nike Legend Essential 2 for Versatile Training

Nike Legend Essential 2 for Short Runs, Walking, and Daily Wear

For short runs, I think the Nike Legend Essential will be good for runs that range from 0 to 3 miles. If you like tacking on a warm-up or cooldown run with your training sessions, then this should work well and I’d suggest trying to limit their use for treadmill running if you want their durability to last.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Comfort

For walking and daily wear, I enjoy this model. It’s a good shoe to invest in if you know you’re going to beat them up. The lower price point makes this model a good option for anyone that wants a fairly comfortable trainer that they can get dirty and wear often.

The midsole and breathable upper are also comfortable and feed into why I like this shoe for daily wear. My one issue with this model in the context of daily is if you’re standing all day, then you might find that the lacking midfoot support can be a bit uncomfortable and leave you shifting your weight often.

Nike Legend Essential 2 In Depth Review

Nike Legend Essential 2 Sizing

The Nike Legend Essential 2 sizing is pretty interesting. This model runs pretty narrow, especially through the toe box, so if you have a neutral or wider foot, then you may want to size up a half size.

If you have narrow foot width, then you should be okay going true to size in the Nike Legend Essential 2. Again though, if you have wide feet, then you should definitely size up a half size or look into wide feet-friendly training shoes.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Sizing and Fit

If you have additional sizing and fit questions for the Nike Legend Essential 2, drop a comment below.

Construction Details

Below are some of the key construction details that influence the performance and durability of the Nike Legend Essential 2.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: N/A for this model
  • Weight: 9.30 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: No (light adhesive on the insole)
  • Honeycomb Mesh
  • Rubber Outsole On Forefoot and Heel
  • Foam Midsole
  • Medial and Lateral Sidewall Supports

If you have additional questions on the Nike Legend Essential 2’s construction, drop a comment below.

Takeaway Thoughts

For the price, the Nike Legend Essential 2 is a pretty good budget-friendly training shoe. Is it going to be the best model for lifting heavy weights or tackling serious cross-training sessions? No, but it can hold its own for casual sessions.

If you’re wanting a training shoe for daily wear to beat up on a regular basis or for some casual training, then the Nike Legend Essential 2 is a good option to explore.

If you have additional questions on the Nike Legend Essential 2, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

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